Dodgers take moment to revel in sweep
NLCS takes backseat for one night in celebratory clubhouse
LOS ANGELES -- After the Dodgers beat Dan Haren and the D-backs on Aug. 30 to break an eight-game losing streak, the victory many players have said turned around their season, M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" blasted on the clubhouse stereo.Then Los Angeles beat Brandon Webb and Arizona the next day and played the song again before winning six more games to catapult into first place while listening to the song after every victory.
It would not be a stretch to call the tune the soundtrack of the Dodgers' run from five games under .500 to the National League Championship Series in a matter of 30 games. So as the players splashed champagne and beer around their Dodger Stadium clubhouse, it's fitting that the song blared from the clubhouse stereo on repeat until the last bit of alcohol had been sprayed."We started playing the song before games and after wins, and it kind of just took off from there," said reliever Joe Beimel, dressed for the party in his "Dodgers 97" replica shower robe. "We've been having a lot of fun for a few weeks now." The Dodgers cheered loudly each time the song started over again, as if it actually did possess some magic power that helped their club win. With "the song," as they call it, on in the background, players should have been wary of their teammates' sneaky nature when it comes to celebrating after the way the Dodgers snuck up on the Cubs as heavy underdogs to sweep the series in dominant fashion. Russell Martin experienced a milk bath with a pool or reporters around him, while Andre Ethier was the victim of a sneak attack of a tub of ice. And that was only the start. It was all in fun, as players joyously celebrated the franchise's first playoff series win since 1988 with their second party in their clubhouse in less than 10 days. "We hope it becomes a habit for another three weeks or so," general manager Ned Colletti said. Still bleary-eyed from the champagne showers, the Dodgers started looking ahead to the NLCS, even as they had yet to find out if they would be playing the Phillies or the Brewers. Beimel said he was already starting to think about the challenge of facing Phillies lefties Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and left-handed Brewers slugger Prince Fielder. "The Phillies and Brewers are going to be tough, we know that, but we feel that we have a good team," veteran pitcher Greg Maddux said. "We'll be ready for the next one." Ethier planned on just enjoying Saturday night before starting his preparations for a long, hard series in the next round. For now, Ethier and the Dodgers sit in the prime position of knowing they have safely advanced to baseball's final four while six other clubs have to slug it out for the chance to join them. "It's a neat circumstance to be in and situation that we've put ourselves in," Ethier said. "We'll take our chances in the NLCS." If the Dodgers play well enough to win that series, everybody in the clubhouse knows what song will greet their next celebration.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.